Tuesday, April 5, 2005

NEC Develops 1 Gbps Wireless HDTV Transceiver in 60-GHz-band

Earlier this month, NEC announced a wireless transceiver for indoor, short range HDTV transmission, such as between a cable box a wall-mounted display. The wireless module carries uncompressed HDTV signals and stereo audio signals in a 1 Gbps data stream in the 60-GHz-band using amplitude shift keying (ASK) modulation. A dual receiver configuration supports two transmission paths. Automatic switching from one path ensures continuous transmission should interference disturb one of the paths.

Compared to other WLAN (2.4 and 5 GHz) or UWB, NEC said the 60-GHz band is better suited for HDTV transmission because of less interference at high frequencies.

In Japan, 59 to 66 GHz is allocated as an unlicensed frequency band for low-power applications. In the U.S., 57 to 64 GHz is also allocated for unlicensed applications. NEC said the radio wave in these frequency ranges is characterized by relatively high attenuation in the air due to the oxygen absorption and thus appropriate for short-range communications with less interference from other wireless systems. Its propagation is straightforward rather than diffractive and interrupted with significant attenuation by obstacles such as a human body in the way.

Widevine Supplies Virtual Smart Cards for Chunghwa Telecom's IPTV

Taiwan's ChungHwa Telecom has ordered an additional 500,000 downloadable Virtual Smart Cards from Widevine Technologies. ChungHwa Telecom is using Widevine Cypher, a conditional access and digital rights management solution.

Chunghwa's Multimedia on Demand (MOD) project, one of the largest IPTV deployments in the world, offers True Video-on-Demand (TVOD), Near VOD (NVOD), Karaoke-on-Demand and linear broadcast channels. The MOD expansion project will add another 500,000 subscribers to the current MOD subscriber base. The expansion project will feature two additional head ends. For the project, Widevine will deploy with two middleware providers -- Orca and Alcatel -- and four set-top boxes from three manufacturers: Pace, Foxcom and Hwacom/Setabox.

ChungHwa Telecom has licensed Widevine Cypher from Mediascape, Widevine's distributor in Taiwan. Widevine will be paid an upfront licensing fee plus an additional per-subscriber fee as the install base increases over the years.

  • In January 2005, Alcatel and Widevine announced a global agreement for Alcatel to resell Widevine Technologies' Cypher technology-Virtual SmartCard and Application Level encryption for securing content over video networks. The Widevine Virtual SmartCard solution is currently used a content security solution in the TVoDSL and FTTH markets. The companies cited Chunghwa Telecom's rollout as the catalyst for their agreement.

  • Chunghwa Telecom, the incumbent operator in Taiwan, had 3.1 million ADSL users as of 31-Dec 31, 2004, a 26.6% YoY increase

Brooktrout Shows SnowShore IP Media Server on ATCA

Brooktrout Technology demonstrated its SnowShore IP Media Server running on Continuous Computing's Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture (AdvancedTCA) platform.

The SnowShore IP Media Server is an open, carrier-class IP media server that delivers advanced media processing for communications applications, from basic messaging and prepaid services to conferencing and video mail. AdvancedTCA is an open industry standard for carrier-grade, blade-based servers targeting the requirements for next-generation telecommunications network equipment.


Sonus Signs Distributor in China

Sonus Networks has signed a non-exclusive distribution agreement with Beijing TianFengJuYuan Technology Co. covering its full product line for the Chinese carrier market, including the GSX9000 Open Services Switch, the Insignus Softswitch, and the Sonus Insight Element Management System.

Optibase Unveils Broadcast Quality HD Encoder Board

Optibase introduced real-time professional MPEG-2 HD encoding board for the PC. Optibase's MovieMaker 200 HD is designed for professional quality ingest of HD for broadcasting, video on demand (VOD), ad insertion, program initiation and post-production studios, as well as for integrators working on high-resolution military simulation or surveillance projects.

Optibase's MovieMaker 200 HD board is designed to support both high definition and standard definition video input, with MPEG-2 compression support at up to 80 Mbps. The board is designed to digitize from an array of inputs (file, analog or digital) and to drop files to a host as either compressed or uncompressed data. The MovieMaker 200 HD board will ship with Optibase's full-featured encoding management application, MPEG Composer 200, version 4.0, with integrated device control, parameter setting, and encode status monitoring.

Commerical availablity is expected in Q3 of 2005.

FTTH Council for Asia Pacific Sets Charter

A new FTTH Council Asia Pacific has been established with a charter to promote the extension of fiber access across the Asia Pacific region including Greater China, Korea, Japan, SE Asia, India, and Australia/New Zealand. He new group is headed by Mr. Shoichi Hanatani, who also serves as Senior Director, Hitachi Communication Technologies.

Surveys of FTTH activity around the world show that there are over a million subscribers connected with optical fiber access, with the Asia-Pacific region leading the way with speed of deployment and numbers of deployments. According to Dittberner Associates, Inc., the worldwide capital expenditures related to FTTH access technology will reach US$22.8 billion in 2013, from an estimated $3.7 billion in 2004 and predicts that the Asia Pacific region will be the largest market for FTTH access technology with 52.8% of the total, or 12 billion dollars. China alone will account for a third of the region, with nearly 24% of the total market.


UpZide Labs and Tensilica Target VDSL2 Data-Path Design

UpZide Labs AB and Tensilica announced a partnership in the area of VDSL2 data-path design. Under the agreement, UpZide will develop a reference design utilizing multiple Xtensa LX processors from Tensilica to implement the VDSL2.

The companies said that because the standard is evolving, it's essential that the VDSL2 data-path component be designed with the flexibility required to adapt to all possible changes. By designing with Xtensa's configurable processors rather than RTL (register transfer level code), and by extending the instruction set to handle the data-intensive demands of the VDSL2 standard, UpZide will be able to make available for license a fast, efficient, and programmable solution.

  • UpZide was founded in 2001 by the key individuals that developed the Zipper DMT technology, a concept that is currently a cornerstone of the VDSL standard, as well as the evolving VDSL2 standard. The company is based in Lulea, Sweden.

China Netcom Reports 6.22M Broadband, 80.4M Fixed Line Subscribers

China Netcom, the incumbent operator across northern China and Shanghai, reported key operating statistics and annual results for the year ending 31 December 2004. Some highlights:

  • Consolidated revenue was reported at RMB 64,922 million and net profit reached RMB 9,248 million, representing an increase of RMB 5,024 million and RMB 20,359 million, respectively, over previous year.

  • The Company continued to maintain its market dominance in the northern service region with a 94.5% market share in local telephony and a significantly expanded market share in broadband to 95.8% at the end of 2004, compared to 89.2% in 2003.

  • Broadband subscribers grew by 145.3% to 6.22 million. In its Northern service region, China Netcom's market share reached 95.8% at the end of 2004, compared to 89.2% at the end of 2003. Broadband and Internet services revenue reached RMB 5,058 million, which was 44.8% higher that of 2003.

  • Fixed-line subscribers grew substantially to 80.4 million, an increase of 15.5% from the end of 2003 as the number of PHS subscribers more than doubled to reach 15 million and accounted for 18.8% of total fixed line subscribers by the end of the year. PHS usage more than tripled, which more than offset a slight 5.8% decrease in PSTN usage resulting from mobile substitution. Total usage of fixed-line excluding dial-up increased 9.6% while dial-up usage decreased rapidly due to the prevalent upgrading to broadband.

  • Domestic long distance usage grew approximately 12.9% in 2004, while international long distance usage increased close to 3.9%. The percentage of VOIP usage increased for both domestic long distance and international long distance. This, combined with lower effective tariffs, prompted a decline in overall long distance revenues by 3.4% in 2004 while domestic long distance revenues remained relatively stable.

  • Revenues from managed data services were RMB1,217 million in 2004, an increase of RMB 2 million, or 0.2%, from RMB1,215 million in 2003, primarily due to growth in the total leased bandwidth of FR, ATM and MPLS VPN services. Revenues from leased line services were RMB1,825 million in 2004, a decrease of RMB621 million, or 25.4% from RMB2,446 million in 2003 as other carriers chose to build and use their own networks.

  • Revenues for International Telecommunication Services over the company's pan-Asian network grew 91.7%, reaching RMB 2,643 million in 2004 compared to RMB1,379 million in 2003 and accounted for 4.3% of total revenues compared to 2.5% in 2003

China Netcom Chairman, Mr. Zhang Chunjiang, commented, "We expect that China will maintain its robust economic growth and that demand for communication services, particularly broadband access, will continue to grow. For China Netcom, 2005 will be 'the year of execution.' We plan to take advantage of our dominant market position, service quality, broadband leadership, rapid growth in international telecommunication services and growing brand recognition as an Olympic marketing champion."http://www.china-netcom.com

Trapeze Raises $17.5 million in 3rd Round Funding

Trapeze Networks, a supplier of WLAN systems, raised $17.5 million in third-round Series C funding, bringing the total investment in the company to $67.5 million.

Trapeze offers a secure wireless LAN Mobility System that enables roaming and sophisticated services for both users and IT. The company is based in Pleasanton, California.

The new funding was led by $4 million from Duff Ackerman & Goodrich. Trapeze received additional Series C funding from a recently announced alliance with Nortel and its original team of first- and second-round investors, including venture capitalists Accel Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Oak Investment Partners and Castile Ventures, investment bankers and financial services firms Trautman Wasserman & Co. and C.E. Unterberg Towbin.


Nokia Establishes Factory in Chennai, India

Nokia will set up a manufacturing facility for mobile devices in Chennai, India. The manufacturing unit in Chennai will be Nokia's tenth mobile device production facility globally. Nokia anticipates investing an estimated US$100-150 million in the India production plant. Construction of the facility will begin this month.


WLAN Vendors Propose Secure Light Access Point Protocol (SLAPP)

Aruba Networks and Trapeze Networks submitted an IETF draft for a new protocol that simplifies the control and management of wireless LAN (WLAN) devices by centralized WLAN controllers. A new IETF Control and Provisioning of Wireless Access Points (CAPWAP) group has been chartered to define new interoperability mechanisms that make it easier to mix and match equipment from different suppliers.

The new Secure Light Access Point Protocol (SLAPP), submitted to the CAPWAP working group, is a simple discovery and authentication mechanism that operates independently of the underlying access technology. SLAPP can be used with various technologies, such as 802.11, 802.16 and RFID, to automatically interconnect devices of all types to a centralized control system.

Aruba Networks said one of the first uses of SLAPP will be providing easy interoperability between WLAN controllers and thin access points from different vendors. SLAPP can be used by access points of any kind to discover one or more controllers, perform a security association and negotiate an extension for control and provisioning functions. Using SLAPP, a device, such as an AP, first discovers one or more controllers through any one of a variety of existing standard protocols, such as DHCP, DNS or IP multicast. Once a controller has been discovered, the device performs a security association that includes mutual authentication. Upon completion of this process, the devices negotiate what control protocol will be used for subsequent inter-device communications.

The Internet Draft was co-authored by Partha Narasimhan at Aruba and Dan Harkins at Trapeze Networks. The draft is available online.

Singapore's StarHub Installs Lucent's Fault Mgt. Software

Singapore's StarHub has installed Lucent Technologies's VitalSuite Network and Service Management software to provide real-time inter-domain fault management in its network. StarHub has deployed Lucent's Network Fault Management software (formally Navis NFM) to help maximize network and service availability by managing the elements and systems deployed in StarHub's multi-vendor, multi-technology nationwide network that delivers voice, data, cable TV and Internet access. Lucent Worldwide Services provided the customer with on-site training, installation and critical integration support, including assistance with the set-up of the network monitoring tools. Financial terms were not disclosed.


VeriSign Counts 900 Million Internet Users

VeriSign announced a plan to enhance its 18 geographically-dispersed Internet servers by installing and operating additional regional resolution servers in key locations around the world. The additional servers will boost performance for growing numbers of Internet users in diverse locations around the globe.

Since 2000, VeriSign's infrastructure for .com and .net has supported rapid and sustained growth in Internet usage throughout Europe, Asia, North America and South America currently processing more than 14.5 billion queries each day. In response to this increasing Internet usage, VeriSign is also working with country code Top-Level Domain registries (ccTLDs) and their respective government agencies worldwide to constantly improve the Internet's stability.

Recently, VeriSign identified additional geographic regions of emerging growth in Internet usage including Brazil, Argentina, Australia, Africa, Middle East, India and Eastern and Central Europe. To enhance Internet stability and speed within these regions, VeriSign has developed plans to install and operate additional Internet servers over the next two years.

VeriSign estimates that Internet traffic around the world continues to double about every 12 to 18 months. According to the company, there are currently approximately 900 million Internet users worldwide with 269 million located in Europe, 242 million in North America, 246 million across Asia, and 58 million in Latin America. China, alone, has approximately 90 million Internet users and Japan has approximately 82 million Internet users.

At present, approximately 65 to 75% of all Internet content is in English despite the fact that English-speaking Internet users number only 35% of the world's Internet users. While English is still the most widely spoken language of all Internet users, 14.1% of current Internet users speak Chinese, 9.6% speak Japanese, 9% speak Spanish, 7% speak German, 4.1% speak Korean and 3.8% speak French.

Navini Unveils 3.5GHz PC Card

Navini Networks announced the availability of the PCMCIA card for 3.5 GHz.
Navini's solution is powered by Smart Antennas with adaptive beam forming technology. The company said the PC card will deliver DSL speeds, opening the door for portable WiMax services.

Verizon offers $20 VoiceWing VoIP Plan, New Features

Verizon introduced a new $19.95 a month plan for its VoiceWing broadband telephony service, providing 500 minutes outbound local and domestic long-distance calling, unlimited inbound calls and free calls to other VoiceWing subscribers. VoiceWing Unlimited -- a plan that provides unlimited local and domestic long-distance calling for $29.95 a month was launched by Verizon last year.

Some new features include:

  • customers located in certain areas the option to include their telephone number in a residential 411 directory assistance database.

  • fax support for customers using a Linksys PAP2 telephone adapter. Current customers who are using a Cisco adapter provided by Verizon and would like faxing capability can request a new, free adapter.

  • the ability to block up to 20 pre-designated phone numbers and to reject calls from anonymous callers.

  • subscribers can also purchase up to five additional telephone numbers with their choice of area codes to use on their VoiceWing service for incoming calls.

  • scheduled callbacks: Schedule important calls in advance online. Customers' phones will ring at the appointed time, and they will then be connected to the call.

  • permanent Caller ID Block: Gives VoiceWing customers total control over who sees their Caller ID information whenever they make an outbound call.

MCI Rejects Qwest Acquisition Proposal

MCI's Board of Directors voted that the Qwest proposal in its current form, taken as a whole, is not superior to its merger agreement with Verizon.

MCI said it remains open to the possibility of further discussions with Qwest, but that Verizon's bid provides certainty on a number of key elements, including:

  • A guaranteed minimum of at least $23.50 per MCI share (including MCI's March 15 dividend payment of $0.40 per share)

  • Certainty of closing

  • Realistic synergy projections

  • Strength of capital structure

  • The ongoing ability and commitment to sustain network service quality and invest in new capabilities.

In response, Qwest issued a statement noting that its offer represents a 20% premium over Verizon's, that the cash component of its offer is 62% greater than Verizon's, and that shareholders will dictate the next steps in this process.